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Contributions to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

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Fernando J. Gonçalves, Ruth Pereira and Walter Leal Filho

This book presents essential learning approaches. It introduces educational and training activities, as well as various innovative methods aiming at the development of practical skills, in order to strengthen the continuous process of environmental education, and in particular the education for sustainable development (ESD). In doing so, it focuses on three dimensions (social, economic and environmental) as a means of achieving an effective change of behaviour and «tries to bridge the gap between science and environmental education by describing a set of projects, initiatives and field activities». A special emphasis is put on teacher training programmes, conception, and implementation, highlighting the problems and barriers, which prevent development as far as integration of sustainability issues in higher education is concerned.

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Chapter 9: The Relevance of Learning Strategies Relying on Investigative and Experimental Premises for Science Teaching: A Case Study with Junior School Students

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Chapter 9 The Relevance of Learning Strategies Relying on Investigative and Experimental Premises for Science Teaching: A Case Study with Junior School Students Fernanda Luísa Lopes, Joana Luísa Pereira, Fernando Gonçalves, António Veríssimo, Rui Ribeiro Abstract Natural Sciences are a spreading field for the development of innovative and diverse teaching strategies envisaging improvements in learning processes. Moreover, most of the formal contents of the natural sciences’ curricula can be closely linked to environmental issues, and thus used as environmental education promoters. The achievement of such a cooperative platform requires the teacher to invest in establishing the links between formal contents to be taught and processes that students can observe and feel in their everyday life, and requires a shift to- wards the use of more practical/experimental teaching strategies that can enhance the actual meaning of acquiring concepts. In line with these principles, this study aimed to evaluate whether an innovative teaching strategy (based on experimental procedures) would promote better learning than traditionally conducted practical lessons. Departing from the same problem (related to microalgae growth), a 7th grade class (26 students) was divided into two groups, which were driven to solving the problem according to distinct teaching strategies: (i) the “participa- tive group”, where an investigative-like learning was promoted by the teacher; (ii) the “expositive group”, where practical lessons were conducted by the teacher. Levels of procedural and conceptual knowledge were evaluated quanti- tatively in both groups before and after the intervention (inquiry and report-based evaluation)...

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